No. 86.
Mr. Morton to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 466.]

Sir: On the 26th ultimo (dispatch 464), I informed the Department of the resolution voted by the Chamber of Deputies, a few days before, expressing the desire that the free admission of American pork be again suspended, and of the action the Government felt compelled to take in consequence of this vote.

When my dispatch was forwarded (Friday, the 28th), I had not seen the text of the new prohibitory decree, which was only issued on the following day, but my telegram of the same evening, of which a copy is herewith inclosed, gave you its substance. I have the honor of sending to-day a copy and translation of the decree, and of a report of the minister of commerce to the President, explaining his motives.

At the President’s reception on New Year’s day I had occasion of recurring again to this subject with the president of the council and the minister of commerce, and I am glad to say that both seem as desirous as I am of securing the permanent removal of any obstruction to the [Page 133] importation in France of American pork. I remarked to Mr. Ferry that I had not failed to inform you of his sincere desire to comply with my requests in the matter, and that I was in receipt of a dispatch expressing your appreciation of his friendly language and course, and instructing me to convey to him the satisfaction felt by the Government of the United States with his action, which I intended to do in a more formal manner. “This action of ours,” said Mr. Ferry, “is not over; we do not intend to leave the matter as it now stands; we are collecting facts and scientific opinions which are of such weight that they cannot fail to impress favorably the Chamber.” Mr. Herisson confirmed this statement.

It cannot be doubted that there exists in the public mind a strong-prejudice against American pork, a prejudice which has been unfortunately to some extent created or aggravated by certain American newspaper articles of which the French protectionists adroitly took advantage. It was in reference to a statement made upon the authority of an American scientist that I telegraphed you to ascertain the correctness of those attributed to Dr. Dettmar. Your answer furnished me with valuable information, the insertion of which I procured in all the leading French as well as in other papers.

Your cipher dispatch of the 27th ultimo, expressing your satisfaction with my diligence in the matter, and the hope that energetic efforts would be continued to secure the permanent repeal of the prohibition, was duly received. I highly appreciate the expression of approval, and shall spare no exertion to second your efforts in this matter so important to our commerce.

I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a note addressed to Mr. Ferry, on the 2d instant, of the telegrams above mentioned, and of the one given to the press.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 466.—Decree published in Journal Officiel.—Translation.]


The President of the French Republic, upon the report of the minister of commerce, decrees:

Article 1. The execution of the decree of November 27, 1883, is adjourned; is in consequence suspended until such time as provision is made by a law upon the introduction of pork into France, the importation of the said salted meat coming from the United States of America.

Art. 2. Nevertheless, for contracts already made, this meat can be admitted exceptionally until the 20th of January, 1884, by the ports of Havre, Bordeaux, and Marseilles, and upon the condition that it shall be stated that it answers to the description known in commerce under the name of “fully cured”; that it is healthy, that it is in a perfect state of preservation, and that the curing is complete.

This statement shall be made by experts specially appointed by the prefects.

The importers must declare before any discharge that they consent to pay the costs that the inspection of the experts may entail.

The maximum of the tariff of these costs shall be fixed by the chambers of commerce.

Art. 3. The ministers of commerce and finance are charged, each one in so far as he may be concerned, with the execution of the present decree.


By the President of the Republic.
The minister of commerce,
Ch. Herisson.

[Page 134]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 466.—Translation.]

Mr. Herisson’s report to the President of the Republic.

Monsieur le President: On the 27th November last I had the honor to submit for your signature a decree repealing that of the 18th February, 1881, which prohibited on the territory of the Republic the importation of salted pork coming from the United States. This measure was grounded upon the opinion of the Academy of Medicine and upon the decision of the consultative committee of public health of France, specially appointed to deliberate upon the matter.

The Chamber of Deputies, at its sitting on the 22d December, evinced the desire that the execution of the decree of the 27th November should be postponed until the discussion of a proposed law, of which it has already had notice.

The object of the decree annexed herewith is to satisfy this desire in suspending the importation of American pork.

In order, however, to avoid confusion in commercial transactions, I have the honor to submit likewise for your high approbation a temporary measure with the view of conciliating the various interests involved.

It is as well to recall in this connection that when the decree of the 18th of February, 1881, had for the first time edicted the formal prohibition of American pork, the importation of the said meat was none the less, in consequence of the importance of the operations engaged, authorized until May 20 of the same year, under the reserve of a microscopical examination.

The measure which I propose to you has been inspired by this precedent.

The meat can exceptionally enter France until January 20 next by the three ports of Havre, Bordeaux, and Marseilles, and under certain, conditions to prove its harmlessness.

This very short period is proof that the measure of favor can only be really applied to goods at the present time in transit or for which engagements have been made.

With reference to the guarantees required for the public health, I thought I could do no better to do away with all fears than reproduce textually in the decree those which appear in the proposed law voted by the Chamber on the 28th March, 1882, and which has just been taken up again an supported before the same assembly by those of its members who have evinced the least desire for free importation.

It should be stated that the meat answers to the description known in commerce under the name of “fully cured”; that it is healthy, in a perfect state of preservation, and that the curing is complete.

The statements should be made by expert agents, appointed by the prefects, and the importers should declare, before any discharge, that they consent to pay the cost that may be incurred by the inspection.

If the advantages of the decree, which I have the honor to propose to you, appear to you of such, a nature as to advise its adoption, I beg you, M. le President, to be so good as to affix your signature thereto.

Receive, M. le President; the assurance of my profound respect.

The minister of commerce,

[Inclosure 3 in No. 466.]

Mr. Morton to Mr. Ferry.

Sir: It was an agreeable duty for me to inform my Government of the friendly manner in which you had received my earnest representations with regard to the long-standing prohibition of American pork, and of your liberal action in procuring the repeal of the obnoxious decree of the 18th February, 1881.

At the New Year’s reception, at the Elysée, I intimated to you that I was in receipt of a dispatch from Mr. Frelinghuysen, in which he requested me to express to you his appreciation of your course in the matter, which I now take pleasure in doing more fully than I could yesterday.

“I have to request you,” says Mr. Frelinghuysen, “to convey to the minister of foreign affairs the expression of the very great satisfaction which the liberal and enlightened course of the French authorities in reference to this matter, based upon thorough scientific investigation, has afforded this Government.”

It is the hope of my Government, and my own, that this liberal action of your excellency will be continued, and that you will be able to bring about a permanent and satisfactory settlement of this question, which has been so unexpectedly and so unfortunately reopened by the resolution of Mr. Paul Bert.

I avail, &c.,

[Page 135]
[Inclosure 4 in No. 466.—Extract from the Paris Morning News.]

We have received the following dispatch:

Washington, December 30, 1883.—The Secretary of State has telegraphed to the American minister at Paris, that a competent expert, Mr. Curtis, appointed by the Department of Agriculture to make an investigation as to trichinosis, reports officially that no disease exists among American hogs.

At a meeting of the Association of Western Swine-breeders it was unanimously resolved that in the five great producing States, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, no disease whatever existed among swine.

The discrimination of the French authorities against American pork is, therefore, made directly in the face of the evidence. A competent expert, appointed by the United States Government, reports that the disease, against which the prohibitive French legislation was directed, does not exist. As the object of such legislation is not to prohibit the pork itself, there appears to be, under the circumstances, no good reason for its continued existence.